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Britain Condemns Ahmadinejad Christmas Broadcast

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

The British government has condemned the airing of a televised Christmas address by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Britain's Foreign Office said the decision by Britain's Channel 4 would cause "international offence."

In the address, Ahmadinejad, speaking in Farsi with English subtitles, congratulates Britons on the birth of Jesus Christ, describing him as "the standard bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination, and injustice."

He also said that if Jesus Christ were alive today, he would oppose bullying "expansionist powers," as well as warmongers, occupiers, and terrorists across the world.

British Jewish organizations and Israel's ambassador to London expressed outrage over the broadcast, citing Ahmadinejad's hostility to Israel, Iran's human rights abuses, and alleged Iranian support for terrorism.

British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that Channel 4 had handed President Ahmadinejad a propaganda

"It's giving him a prime-time television slot in which he is posed as a defender of justice and peace while ignoring his own human rights abuses. We know that his regime executes children, journalists, Sunni Muslims, gay people, and political and ethnic dissidents," Tatchell said.

The Channel 4 broadcast is seen as an alternative to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional annual address to the Commonwealth.

The station had invited Ahmadinejad to speak.

With agency reports